Movie Review: Broken Embraces

Friday, December 11, 2009
By Abbey Khan
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After losing Lena (Penelope Cruz), the love of his life, and his sight in a fatal car crash fourteen years ago, filmmaker and writer Mateo Blanco (Lluís Homar) goes solely by his pseudonym (Harry Caine). With the help of his good friend and former production manager, Judit García (Blanca Portillo), and her only son Diego (Tamar Novas), Harry still works as a writer. When Diego recovers at Harry’s home after an accidental overdose, Harry opens up about his life with Lena, one he wishes he could have written a different ending to, only to discover the truth about her death and his work.

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Broken Embraces marks the fourth collaboration between Cruz and director/writer Pedro Almodóvar, whom she first met when she was only sixteen. Cruz says she continues to work with Almodóvar because of the strong characters he writes. “It’s a wonderful feeling when you cannot stop thinking about that character and that story and it happens a lot to me with Pedro. The four characters I have played for him could not be more different from each other and from what I am as a woman. I feel really lucky to have this work relationship with Pedro.”

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In the film, one of Cruz’s characters is inspired by roles Audrey Hepburn had played in her movies. When asked if she models herself after the classic beauty as a performer, she replied, “I see her as someone that I have always admired very much, I think she was a great actress and very unique.”

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Of course, the big question on everyone’s mind was about her upcoming role in the second Sex and the City movie, which she cleared up as being a cameo appearance. “I shot half a day. I did a little cameo because I’m a big fan of the show, Sarah Jessica Parker, and the movie. They don’t really want me to say anything about the scene or the story.”

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Recommendation: A-
At 128 minutes, the film is long, but moves at a steady pace and doesn’t drag on, keeping the audience engaged. The movie is a bit dramatic at times in a soap operish way, but there is enough comic relief to balance it out. Overall, Broken Embraces works as a foreign film.

Broken Embraces is a Sony Pictures Classics release. The film is currently playing in select New York theaters and opens in Los Angeles on December 11, 2009.


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